In what could be a breather for farmers and common people, India's monsoon is likely to be normal with 98 percent rainfall expected, Science and Technology Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said Friday.
"The monsoon rainfall is related to crop production in the country and also has significant impact on economy. The good news for farmers is that the southwest monsoon this year is most likely to be normal," said Reddy.
"Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall is likely to be 98 percent of the long period average (1951-2000)," he added.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), there is very low probability for the season's rainfall to be deficient, which is below 90 percent, or excess, which is above 110 percent.
The probability of normal rainfall is 46 percent while there are 27 percent chances of seasonal rainfall to be below normal.
"All prediction models show that monsoon will be normal. By and large, the drought-hit areas of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka are likely to get normal rain," said Shailesh Nayak, secretary, ministry of earth sciences.
According to IMD, the factors affecting southwest monsoon seem to be normal as of now and anything concrete can be said only by mid-May.
Asked about the expected dates of onset of monsoon, Nayak said: "It is too early to say anything and IMD will only be able to tell that by May 15."
The onset of the southwest monsoon is normally in Kerala on June 1.
IMD will update the forecast in June as part of the second stage forecast.
Along with the updated forecast, separate forecasts for the monthly (July and August) rainfall over the country as a whole and seasonal (June-September) rainfall over the four geographical regions of India will also be issued.